San Francisco to Seattle Road Trip +

For my birthday this year, Kevin and I embarked on a road trip. Living on the east coast my entire life has made me completely lust after the Pacific. I figured a road trip is a great, quick way to start checking off spots on my bucket list, as well as revisiting some of the places I wanted to explore more in depth.

First things first. Planning this bad boy was a little disorienting in the beginning. The BEST tool I can recommend for a road trip is the app InRoute. (This is not sponsored) I highly suggest purchasing the full version to further relieve you of stress. The app is identical to Apple Maps and lets you pin multiple locations along the route, THEN it allows you to optimize the list, and organizes the locations in order to give you the most efficient route. This way you’re not doing any backtracking and the places you want to visit are laid out in front of you. This simplifies so much! Especially when you’re taking detours or running around a big unfamiliar city.

So we hopped on a flight to San Francisco, rented a car and got on our way.


+San Francisco

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We climbed a bunch of stairs to visit Twin Peaks. It was one of the most breathtaking views of the city.

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We walked through Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies. The significance of these houses is that the Victorian architectural detail is enhanced by being painted with three or more colors. They are truly beautiful!

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Made a point to drop by the Palace of Fine Arts just to admire the structure!

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We strolled by the Cliff House to get a panoramic view of the coast and Land’s End, then had to do some serious hiking from there to find this local gem. 100+ stair steps later, we finally walked back to the coast to find the Labyrinth. Eduardo Aguilera created this in 2004, and in spite of it being ruined a couple times since then, he continues to make sure it remains! He dedicated it to “peace, love and enlightenment”.

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Tucked away in the woods is also the Spire by Andy Goldsworthy.

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We visited the outer edge of Fort Point to watch the sunset fade around the Golden Gate Bridge.

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The next morning we stopped at Home for coffee. There are multiple locations around San Fran, and they have not only DELICIOUS coffee but super fun flavors. and they’re aesthetically pleasing. We got red velvet and birthday cake!


+Cypress Tree Tunnel

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About an hour north of SF, and totally in the middle of nowhere, is an amazing little spot where cypress trees line up to create a natural tunnel. It literally looks like the entrance to a fairy tale!


+Highway 101 (North California)

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Highway 101 follows the coast for the most part and is easily one of the most mesmerizing scenic roads I’ve witnessed. The cliffs are rugged and watching the waves crash against the rocks is so beautiful. There are tons of pull-offs to stop and enjoy the jaw-dropping view.


+Glass Beach

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This small beach area is located near Fort Bragg, California in MacKerricher State Park. The sand is mixed with tons of pieces of soft sea glass that was created from garbage dumping near the coast over the years.


+Redwood National Forest

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Visiting the redwoods has always been a dream of mine. First, we stopped at the Chandelier Tree, a 276 ft tall drive-thru tree that just barely let our SUV through. The hole is 6 ft wide and 6’9″ high…and I mean we made it through with about an inch on each side (mirrors tucked in). The next early morning we walked a trail through Lady Bird Johnson Grove, 1000 ft above sea level.


+Mckinleyville, California

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Somewhere on the Cali coast we camped out in Mckinleyville. It was far away from the big cities and the stars were beautifully visible. We could still catch a glimpse of the tail end of the Milky Way!

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+Umpqua National Forest

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Our first stop in Oregon was Umpqua Hot Springs! Another one checked off my bucket list. We hiked up the mountain and there are multiple pools lined down the cliff. I hopped right in- it was just like being in a jacuzzi. If you look over the edge of the pool you can see a creek rushing through the trees down below. It was such a relaxing moment, and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.


+Portland, Oregon

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We didn’t spend much time in Portland, aside from grabbing a snack from Voodoo Doughnuts and a cup of coffee from two different places: Good Coffee + Deadstock Coffee. Deadstock was awesome for any sneakerhead. They topped the latte’s with different sneaker designs- everything from Retro 1’s to Foamposites.


+Seattle, Washington

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Right near the Space Needle is a little park that gives you a perfect view.

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Molly Moo’s is an infamous ice cream shop located all around Seattle. They have so many fun and unique flavors- aside from the fact the cones are enormous. I got cookie dough and honey lavender with sprinkles.

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Seattle Central Public Library is an essential! It’s not only huge, but once you reach the top floor there is a lookout where you can see straight through the streets into the city.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass was an amazing art exhibit…so much talent and beauty clearly went into creating these hand-blown glass creations.

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Once in twenty years the gum wall had been pressure washed…….two weeks before we visited. Luckily they were nice enough to leave this heart-shaped area that probably contained saliva from all over the world.

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Two museums we visited were the Pop Culture Museum and the Seattle Art Museum.

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Hiding under the overpass of Troll Ave is the 18 ft Fremont Troll sculpture. He’s holding a VW and his eye is actually made out of a hubcap.

 

We then caught our flight from Seattle back home. I’m already planning my next road trip adventure!

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The 2017 Okeechobee Music Festival Experience +

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I can confidently tell you that Okeechobee Music Festival was the best weekend of my life.

Music festivals, in general, are great for being surrounded by close friends while having the opportunity to meet new ones who share so many common interests. Although nothing is as liberating as being completely worry-free from our usual mundane reality, the power of the music comes close.

Jam packed with art exhibits, food trucks, and hidden stages, it’s easy to see that OMF crew knows what they’re doing, and they do it well. Overall, the festival is extremely organized, and there’s never a shortage of things to do. Not to mention, they cater to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles!

There’s a strong sense of humanity and unity at music festivals that seems rare to experience in daily life, but I especially felt it at Okeechobee. It’s a heart warming feeling that really opens your eyes!

If you’re comfortable camping out, then I highly recommend this festival- especially if it’s your first time attending one (it was mine).

Tickets are currently on sale for OMF 2018 – will I see you there?!

 

Exploring Tampa, FL +

This post was generously sponsored by Hallelu Boutique + Inspire Boutique!

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Buddy Brew Coffee
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Romper from Inspire Boutique
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Romper is from Inspire Boutique


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Off the shoulder star print top from Hallelu Boutique!
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Remi’s Minis donuts!
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Romper from Inspire Boutique
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Top from Hallelu Boutique ; boots from Steve Madden
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Tacos from Green Lemon in Soho
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Romper is Inspire Boutique ; Denim mules are Hallelu Boutique
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Raw Smoothie Co.
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Unicorn (UNICONE) from Iceberg in DT St. Petersburg!
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Remi’s Mini’s food truck
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Unicone

Exploring Washington DC +

 

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Kevin and I, along with my best friend Nina & her boyfriend Ryan took on Washington DC over a long weekend. It was my second time visiting- the first was when I was younger and had minimal understanding or appreciation for the places I was seeing.

We visited (almost) all the memorials, a handful of bars, and numerous DELICIOUS food spots.

Some of my favorite restaurant spots in DC that I recommend are:

  • Umaya Izakaya OR Daikaya Izakaya (ramen)
  • Baked and Wired (coffee and cupcakes)
  • District of Pi (pizza)
  • Wicked Waffle (breakfast)
  • Busboys and Poets (dinner)

The trip was fun! Now that we’ve conquered DC….where to next?

How I Got Started in My Industry+

People always ask me if I always knew I wanted to do hair…..THIS ONE

The answer to that is absolutely not. I had NO idea what I wanted to do, or what I cared about- much less found passion in.

I took classes at a community college after high school & cried my way through a math class that wasn’t even worth a college credit. I have ZERO patience for things I’m not 100% dedicated to. I felt like what I was doing was useless- I had no end goal, so disciplining myself to school was impossible to do. & the stress from my impatience wasn’t worth it. So I just quit. I dropped all my classes. I felt like it was a waste of time to study aimlessly when I knew I would never be capable of working a 9-5 and taking orders from someone. It just isn’t in the cards for me.

img_1566After working at Ulta as a cashier and drowning in hair, makeup, skin and nail products, I started trying EVERYTHING. I loved experimenting with new makeup and finding hair products that worked the best. The more I played with all these toys, the more I learned. The more people who came into the store with their own experiences with different items, the more I learned. I talked to my coworkers in the salon there, and also started learning about their side of the industry.

It took me a few months to really decide what direction I wanted to take with my life. (I can be super indecisive, to say the least) Looking back, it was hard to commit to a long-term decision at the time. Present Day Kristen would just tell myself to stop hesitating and go do it.

“Time will pass anyway, you may as well start now.”

img_1948I finally signed up for cosmetology school. I had no intentions of doing hair. None whatsoever. I wanted to focus on makeup. My mom and teacher talked me into going to get my entire cosmo license instead of just doing the shorter program (to be an esthetician). Okay, okay.

“I’m never going to work in a salon though” was my exact response. (LOL)

 

img_2246To be honest, I thought hairstylists didn’t make much money. Because that’s the reputation society gives us. People spend 4 years working hard in college & make $100,000 a year, and then all us hairstylists do is stand on our feet miserably for 10 hours & make minimum wage.

Halfway through school, I realized I LOVED this job. I loved meeting and educating others, developing countless relationships with people from every walk of life, and having an endless outlet to express my creativity.

It didn’t occur to me that not every choice I made had to be permanent. But if you at least dive in and give it your best shot, you give yourself a chance to love something- and be good at it.

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And I think that’s what’s so great. No matter what path you choose, you will reap the results of your efforts. If you put your heart into your job, it won’t be a job anymore. If you find something in life that you are enthusiastic about, find a way to build off of it and earn your income that way. If you love what you do, you will naturally work towards perfecting it, with your own individuality, and success will come to you.

I can’t tell you if hair or makeup is right for you, but I encourage you to try!

I am so thankful to all of my clients who continually show me your loyalty and support by making appointments with me! I am so motivated by the encouragement I get and the positive feedback through social media and in real life. Blessings to you all ❤️

To see more of my work or to schedule an appointment, please visit my Instagram!

Friendsgiving+

This year we hosted and celebrated our first ever Friendsgiving. If you don’t know what that is, it’s pretty self-explanatory …Thanksgiving with Friends!

Every get together we have, we like to create a photo booth. It makes a cute and fun background for pictures to save our memories. We kept it simple and moderately budget friendly…I seem to spend more money on balloons than anything else, every time.

For the backdrop:

The streamers are thicker than your normal crepe party steamers. They actually come on a huge, long sheet, so I cut them about 4-5 inches wide. I ordered 4 different colored rolls from Paper Mart. (a great/useful site I have stumbled upon) They are relatively inexpensive- each roll was no more than $4. They are heavier duty, and it keeps the backdrop from not only being flimsy and tearing, but also from looking cheap. We tacked the top to the wall, twisted a few times, then tacked the bottom. The balloons are from Party City and run about $10 each. They also cost around $5-8 each to fill with helium, so keep that in mind if you’re using a ton of letters. If you’ve never seen these balloons in person, they’re pretty big. (average size of 25×32 inches) We strung them together at the top and taped the back so they would move as little as possible. Voila!

Backdrop #2

For our second backdrop and memory wall, we used Shutterfly to print out 4×4 photos from Facebook, Instagram, and our iPhone camera roll. I use this company for 90% of my photo needs because they always have discount codes. We actually got all of these printed for free & just paid for shipping. It’s delivered and fast. I hate going out of my way to sit somewhere like Walgreen’s, use their slow computer system, and wait for my pictures to be printed. I just order these and they’re at my house in about 3 days. We cut a border out of white poster board and glued it to the back of each picture. Then tacked pretty string to the wall, and used our Thanksgiving colored clothespins to hang them up. I hand drew the banner and lettering with a chalk marker on black poster board, then cut it out.

At the table:

The place mats were the easiest thing to do. I bought a roll of postal wrapping paper, measured the size of a regular place mat, and cut out multiple copies. Next I just hand-lettered over the top outline of a normal size plate with each person’s name. Super simple and still tasteful. Napkins were purchased from HomeGoods, tablecloth and paper plates from Target.

Hope these simple and easy ideas inspire your next Friendsgiving! Happy eating!

Client do and don’t+

Whether it’s your first time visiting a salon or your thousandth, there are a few things you should know. Some are common sense, but as we all know…. common sense isn’t so common. From booking your appointment to checking out, these little things will make your salon experience all the better. I’ll keep this list as straightforward as possible!

Client do’s

  • Confirm your appointment. Whether by text, phone call, or online- we need your confirmation so we know we can expect you!
  • Come prepared with a couple photos as inspiration for your hair. (Make sure you’re visualizing the HAIR in the picture on YOU. Trust me, we all wish we looked as sexy as Lauren Conrad or JLo)
  • Allow your stylist to offer suggestions outside of your ideas & comfort zone. (You did come to us for our personal opinions and expertise, right? Let us help you live up to your fullest, most beautiful potential!)
  • Ask questions. If you want to know how your stylist is getting your hair from A to B, just ask. It’s our job to know the chemistry behind our products and formulas.
  • TRUST your stylist. We know how valuable your hair is to you- our’s is valuable to us too! We do want you to love your hair as much as we love our job. Trust us. & if you really hate something, it can always be adjusted! So no worries.
  • Tip your girl or guy! Just like in any service industry, hair artist’s accept tips. Thank them for making you obsessed with your hair again!
  • Refer your friends (or randoms!) to us by handing out our business cards. A referral truly is the greatest compliment to any stylist. Make sure they give us your name! Many stylists offer reward programs once you refer a certain number of people. Plus we want to thank you!

Client don’ts

  • Never no show your appointment. Not only is it insanely disrespectful, but it’s a complete waste of our time. We could have spent the 3 hours we booked for your balayage on somebody else- a paying customer who would actually show up.
  • Don’t ask a stylist for their opinion or direction, then run it to another stylist to create. A second opinion is always great, but if you have no intention of booking an appointment while discussing your hair, then it’s rude and shady…and a waste of our time.
  • Don’t tell us how to do our job. We love to hear what you like and hate- that’s how we’re gonna learn your preferences- but sometimes clients think that just because they saw a youtube tutorial or have always done it themselves, they know best. Not always the case. If we listened to your exact instruction, you might end up hating your hair. Let us do what we’ve spent so much time learning to do! (We love it even more when you give us full creative reins)
  • Many stylists are flexible but don’t try to make them feel bad for not being able to “squeeze you in” when you decided last minute to try to book an appointment. Many of us schedule months out in advance. If your hair is important to you, then schedule on your day off, or leave work a little earlier. We’re all working and we all have lives outside of work, so make your appointment within your salon’s operating hours.
  • Don’t bash other stylists (or anyone) to us! Sometimes those people are our friends, and we know every hair artist isn’t perfect. And we don’t think we are! If you dislike something your stylist did, TELL THEM! We are always happy to adjust your tone, tweak your cut, or add a couple lowlights. Nothing is irreversible, so there’s no need to be negative about it! Just be kindly upfront to your hair guru. We don’t want you to hate your hair- or us! Give us a chance to make you love us again!

 

These are a few of the things we take seriously as hair artist’s in our industry. We are passionate about our jobs, and we want you to feel passionate about your beauty! Every stylist is different and we all have our own personal touch of doing things, but I think most of us can agree to these do and don’ts. If you have any questions or concerns before, during, or after your appointment, don’t hesitate to be open with your hairdresser. Contact them!

Guardian Angel+

 

Dad, without you there’d be a lot of squeeky, broken, unlit, cracked and chipped, overgrown, empty, and busted things in my life.

People often undervalue a relationship with their father. Aside from this person being one of the two who gave you life, Dads represent something strong on psychological level. And everyone has probably heard the term “daddy issues” at some point or another. Unstable women who “acted out” due to a deep-rooted relationship issue (if any) with their padre. I always thought it was comical, (a big thanks to Barney Stinson) more than anything… until I lost my dad.

After the initial shock wore down some, and I could accept the reality of what happened, I realized so many things. First, the entire world felt so much emptier. The presence that was always there, even when it wasn’t, was noticeably gone. It felt hollow. But what lined that hollowness, was a mix of so many different, new feelings. My backbone was gone. I never realized the amount of stability I depended on him for. Basically every ounce. My entire life I felt borderline invincible, that I could handle any and everything thrown at me. I’d go where angels feared to tread. But it was because I felt like my dad could too. Neither of us lacked in willpower. So where I fell short, I assumed he wouldn’t. Having that security taken from you is confusing, at the very least. It made me question my own stability (whereas I am typically adamantly self-reliant). I realized how my confidence in decision making was wavering. There wasn’t that someone there to catch me if I slipped badly, and that makes every minuscule choice seem so much more crucial.

It’s just a constant painful realization when you miss someone, but they aren’t here to miss. From the beginning to the end of a normal day, things flow smoothly. But over the long run, you look back to realize time is putting distance between your memories that were once so fresh. It’s hard to fathom this world without your dad.

So far, it hasn’t been Father’s Day or on my dad’s birthday when it hits me. It’s always in the little moments, like when I hear a song he would always play, or see a car like one he drove. Those moments when I have questions and the person I trusted to have answers is no longer here. It’s those times I’m not prepared for that make me withdraw and have to regather myself. It’s easily a lonely feeling, and it’s capable of making you feel a little smaller in the world if you let it.

But I’ve realized there is no right way to handle a parent passing. You are still forced to stand up on your hind legs and carry out your plans- you just do it with a little more vigor and a little more tenacity. That love isn’t replaced by motivation but accompanied by it. And each time you find yourself wishing they were here, you can look up and know that somewhere they truly are.

How To Have Healthy Hair+

Have you ever been to the point where you’re in total distress because your hair is damaged, and you’re just ready to chop it off entirely? I have and I feel your pain. Trust me. Sometimes a good cut is absolutely necessary (and when I say ‘cut’, I mean more than one measly little inch), but I know how painful it is to go in for a major chop when your length is your security blanket. As a stylist, hair health is my biggest priority. I burnt my hair to a crisp in junior high (literally, it just sizzled off onto the floor from my flat iron) and from that moment I learned that there are some boundaries to coloring and heat usage.

On the bright side though, there are many things you can do to start growing a healthy luscious mane. First and foremost:

Use a PROFESSIONAL shampoo and conditioner.

Tresseme is not professional….anything that can be purchased at a drugstore, Walmart, Target, etc. is not professional, and essentially it will strip the color from your hair fast as hell. On top of that, so many of them are packed with silicones and waxes- I’ve watched stylists actually scrape it off the surface of the hair. Salon retail products are specifically formulated to be more gentle and are tailored to individual hair types/needs. But really, the question you should ask yourself is, “Why spend so much money on great quality when I get my hair professionally colored, if I’m going to go home and not use products that will maintain that same quality?” Spend a few extra dollars on better products that you are using in your hair on a day to day basis. It will pay off in the long run.

Get a leave-in conditioner.

Once you’ve washed your hair with your great shampoo and conditioner, spray in some leave-in conditioner before you style it (or don’t style it). A leave-in conditioner is going to truly protect your hair from most things that are damaging (sun damage, heat damage, breakage), plus it doubles as a fabulous detangler. My favorite is It’s a 10 plus Keratin. It’s a heavier formula which is good for thick, curly, or even just dry hair. They have a light version you can opt for if you have finer locks, to prevent any type of oiliness or keep from weighing your hair down. A good trick is to spray a few pumps in your hand and run through your mids to ends, to keep off your scalp and ensure you get every hair covered.

One word: OLAPLEX.

Olaplex has blown the industry off of it’s feet in the last few years. It’s a salon exclusive product, but you have a couple options on how to utilize it. First, and most common- getting the Olaplex ingredient added into your lightener or color at the salon. It works while your hair processes (when the cuticle is open). It gets in there and binds the broken bonds in your hair back together. When you have destroyed disulfide bonds, your hair is weak, dry, and brittle. Olaplex is permanent- it doesn’t sit on top of the hair, or coat it. It works within the hair strand. Your second option (if you prefer not to highlight or color you hair) is to get an Olaplex repair treatment. It’s a clear glaze + Olaplex, and will help repair your hair and give you a ton of shine. If you are still curious, you can read more about it here.

Buy a deep conditioning hair mask.

Occasionally, you should use a heavier conditioner that penetrates deeper into your hair. This is important, especially if you have very dry hair.  My recommendation is once a week- slather a deep conditioner alllll over, put your hair in a shower cap, (or if you’re feeling resourceful, use a plastic bag) and sleep in it. Wake up and rinse it out. I promise, your heart will melt when you run your fingers through it and style it afterward! My favorite is the Moroccan Oil Restorative Hair Mask. It’s also infused with protein and argan oil, and will encourage hair elasticity. Curly hair girls, you will LOVE this!

These are the best steps you can take to maximize healthy hair growth. Also, minimize heat usage; turn the heat setting down if you must use a hot tool. It really doesn’t need to be as hot as you think it does, you’re just creating excess damage. And most importantly, cut your damn hair. Avoiding hair cuts and trims will increase split ends and breakage. When your ends are bad, the damage travels up the hair strand, essentially getting shorter and shorter. Your hair may be growing from your scalp, but it’s breaking off at your ends, thus seeming to never grow. So trim your hair and just nip the issue in the bud.

If you have any questions about what products are right for you specifically, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

A journey, not a destination+

There’s this misconception that if you do all the right things, the right way, in the right order, then you will be rewarded and fulfilled and will experience eternal happiness. Or if you make 6 figures a year, everything else will fall into place. Or finding your soulmate will be the cure to all your problems. I feel like these are all such delusional beliefs. Some of these may uncomplicate certain aspects of our lives to an extent, but by 21, I’ve definitely found that genuine happiness comes from within.

“People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“People can only love you from their own level of consciousness.” Understand that everyone has a different script in life. Everyone evolves at a different pace. But the bottom line is that the way people treat you is truly a direct reflection of how they feel towards themselves. How much time someone has invested in themselves & their growth process can be obvious. When this resonates, it becomes easy to let things go.

“Love yourself” is advice you’re swarmed with so much that it can easily lose it’s true meaning. You hear it, and you’re like “Uh, I’m me and I do love being me. I’m super blessed.” and so you write it off. Me being the stubborn person I am, any hint of advice goes in one ear, and out the other. And those are two words I gave no true meaning of my own to for pretty much forever, and I didn’t really know it. The reality of not loving yourself is destructive. To yourself and others. “Hurt people hurt people.” It doesn’t easily differentiate right from wrong. It clouds you from your own better judgement. It settles. It chases. It’s sometimes hostile. It’s unstable. Just being aware may never initiate growth. I believe there are times that life will break people down to nothing, to give them the opportunity to become the person they want/need to become. When those moments happen to you, you’re given a chance to redefine everything you thought you knew. Most importantly, outlining what you will tolerate and let into your realm of peace. I believe happiness begins with loving yourself, and knowing what you want.

Striving for happiness means there is no room for resentment. Forgive others…this has nothing to do with them, but it’s necessary for your well-being. And while harboring that negative energy can destroy you, it’s only half as bad as holding onto negative people. Let people go. 

“I will not make space in the cracks and crevices of my heart for people who don’t belong. I won’t prioritize someone when I’m not a priority to them. I will not apologize when I’m not wrong. I will not spend money on a person who can’t spend time with me. I will not be there because you are alone. I will not be a shoulder to cry on because you push others away. I will not give you advice you refuse to take. I don’t need any more people taking away the substance from my heart, downsizing it, and leaving me with nothing. I refuse to allow myself to feel numb because of the carelessness other’s show to our hearts. I will just remove myself from the equation. I’m absolutely intolerant of these things.”
-2014

Getting to a place of inner peace is only half the battle, while maintaining it is the other half. This is something I have had to come to terms with myself. Being genuinely happy in a given moment can feel unshakable. It’s easy to have total confidence in your emotions when they are so overwhelmingly positive. It just radiates from you. But inevitably there are twists, and turns, and curveballs that all have the power to discourage you. And there are people out there who will totally deplete your energy. Maintaining this sense of peace by dedicating yourself to being an ever growing and ever changing soul, is vital to your happiness, and it requires conscious effort. Emotions are temporary and unreliable, and knowing this will help you find balance.

 And that’s how you live. You wake up every morning with a choice. You choose to adopt a positive attitude. You choose to find beauty in the small things. You choose to set your standards high, and your goals higher. You release any bad energy instead of bottling it in. It’s so important to be self aware. Happiness really, truly is the result of personal effort. Let go of negative thought patterns and replace them with kinder, more gentle thoughts. When you consciously make the decision to be happy, and choose other happy and loving people to surround yourself with, you’ll find yourself more easily maintaining that level of energy. It only takes effort on your part.